As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2014, coming April 16, the Hot Dish is serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes.
There seems to be no end to the culinary cleverness pouring out of the team behind Travail. In the last year or so the restaurant's chefs and owners have developed a handful of new concepts including the now-shuttered Asian street food pop-up Umami, the very recently opened Rookery, and their Robbinsdale pizza place, Pig Ate My Pizza.
Though inventive pizzas featuring ingredients like fiddlehead ferns, potato chips, and house-made charcuterie are the main event, there are a few appetizers that are not to be missed at Pig Ate My Pizza. The ribs are fantastic and the salt and pepper nuggets are better than just about any salty bar food snack available in these parts, but the dish that surprised and delighted us most were the meat-and-cheesy hog tots.
The tater tot-shaped potato croquettes are stuffed with cheese and smoky ham and delicately deep-fried, just long enough to create an encapsulating crust but not so long that the center cooks through completely. That way the outside is hot and crisp and the inside creamy and rich, like some sort of savory profiterole. The hog tots are served in a long, narrow dish lined with a mellow whole grain mustard sauce for double-dipping. Remember that leftover pizza is one of man's greatest luxuries and then you won't feel bad in the event that you fill up completely on these porky appetizers.